TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 25 (PNA) — For construction worker Allan Baylon, 39, it’s time for his family to rebuild their old home now that he has received a P30,000 emergency shelter assistance (ESA) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Since super typhoon Yolanda totally damaged Baylon’s house, his family has been sharing a home with a relative in Palanog village.

“This is the first cash I got for shelter repair from anyone. Now we can buy materials to rebuild our house,” said Baylon, a father of three, who earns minimum wage as a laborer.

Baylon is just one of the 1,430 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in this city who received ESA funds today, November 25, from the national government.

The DSWD prioritized the cash distribution to 4Ps beneficiaries in safe zones since they are already properly for accounted by DSWD. Some 3,230 poor families are scheduled to get the aid before the end of the year.

The total requirement for the city’s 4Ps beneficiaries is P12.53 million. This is on top of the P315.54 million ESA fund downloaded to the city government on Monday for non-4Ps recipients.

Families living in safe zones with partially damaged house get P10,000 while those with totally wrecked houses are entitled to P30,000 grant.

The national government assumed the responsibility of distributing ESA funds to 4Ps beneficiaries to facilitate its release considering the unliquidated P39 million funds by the city government received for cash for work program.

“It’s easy to release for 4Ps beneficiaries since their names are registered in our office and we know where to find them,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman during the cash distribution at the DSWD Leyte provincial office.

Soliman clarified that even those families who managed to rebuild their house on their own will also receive ESA fund.

“Maybe some of you have already borrowed money to rebuild your house. You can use this assistance to pay off debts incurred from buying construction materials. You just have to make sure that you repaired your house since the Commission on Audit (COA) will conduct spot check,” she added.

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo M. Lacson said that the case in Tacloban is special since poor families couldn’t wait for liquidation process to receive the much needed help from the government.

“The DSWD is running the risk of being questioned by COA, but never mind because people are waiting and they don’t understand complex policies,” Lacson.

The rehabilitation czar pointed out that even if it’s already more than a year after Yolanda, the ESA fund still serves its purpose given the enormous need of survivors. (PNA)